Originally published in Stepparent Magazine July 24, 2019 / Revised September 16, 2023

Parental alienation is a painful and often hidden form of emotional abuse that wreaks havoc on the lives of those experiencing it. Here are five tips on how to be a supportive friend to someone going through the relentless battles of parental alienation:

  1. Empathy Is Key: Understand that unless you’ve personally experienced parental alienation, you can’t fully grasp the emotional toll it takes. The constant legal battles, character assassinations, and financial strains are unimaginable. Offer a compassionate ear and withhold judgment.
  2. Every Battle Is Unique: Recognize that no two parental alienation cases are the same. Alienating tactics can vary greatly, and the court system’s response may differ as well. Avoid offering one-size-fits-all advice and instead, listen to your friend’s specific situation.
  3. The Courts Often Don’t Understand: Don’t assume the court system will provide a solution. Parental alienation is still not widely recognized by courts, making it an uphill battle. Refrain from offering legal advice unless you’re experienced in this specific area.
  4. Be Patient and Understanding: Alienated parents may become increasingly isolated as their children are manipulated against them. Understand that your friend might have less time for socializing and may appear distant at times. Stay committed to the friendship or respectfully step away if you can’t commit fully.
  5. Choose to Be a True Friend: Parental alienation is a long and grueling battle. Decide whether you want to be there for the long haul or if you’re better off stepping aside. Your unwavering support can be a lifeline for someone navigating the painful journey of parental alienation.

Parental alienation is a relentless war, and alienated parents need strong and understanding friends to help them endure the emotional turmoil. Your friendship can make a significant difference in their lives.

2 thoughts on “Supporting Friends Through the Pain of Parental Alienation: 5 Tips

  1. Untill I read this I did not really no what’s been wrong with me but now I no I do feel that way

  2. So true! I was doing “research” on the web back in 2000 trying to understand family law. I came across a man named Bill Kirkendale, who described not seeing his daughter in years. I cried as I read his story thinking there is a name for this?? Parental Alienation, and so my journey began. In the early 2000’s very little was known or talked about, I was pretty much alone with it. Sadly my daughter has no contact, and has blocked my trying for 19 years.

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